NNL: FC One Rocket and Ibom Youth drawn in same group
Akwa Ibom-based clubs Ibom Youths FC and FC One Rocket have been drawn in the same group for the 2020-21 abridged Nigeria National League (NNL) season, following the official draw conducted by the board during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Salt Lake hotel, Abakaliki, on Friday.
Both teams will face each other in the 2020-21 Nigeria National League Southern Conference Group B2 opener on January 30.
They will battle 11 other clubs for a playoff spot in the group that also includes Bendel Insurance, Joy Cometh FC, Gateway FC, Crown FC, Jossy FC, Julius Atete FC, Abia Comets, Apex Keane, Bayelsa United, Remo Stars and Goddosky FC.
Meanwhile, as the AGM was holding in the Ebonyi capital, the two sides were facing each other in a friendly at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly pitch.
Ibom Youth won the tie 2-0 thanks to
Nnamso Edo’s sublime freekick in the first-half and an own goal 12 minutes after the break.
The scoreline, though, may not have told the whole story, given that Rockets exhibited nice build-up play and, quite often, threatened their opponents.
And Rockets coach Emmanuel King believes it will be unfair to judge his side based on Friday’s result.
He revealed that he is working with his technical crew to instill on-field chemistry among his players before the season kicks off on January 30.
“I want to say that this is a new pack, new faces entirely, and it’s barely our second week of build-up, so we are going to look at the mistakes, make corrections and see how we can harmonize the team for better results,” King said in a post-match interview.
King’s opposite number, Emmanuel Ntuk, lauded his boys for the victory against Rockets, as well as the 3-2 win recorded against non-league side Nordic FC earlier that day.
“I really appreciate the boys for giving a good account themselves,” Ntuk said.
“Judging from their performances, I can say that the new boys fit into my pattern and game plan.”
Ahead of the kick-off, the NNL has secured a partnership agreement with lottery company Premier Lotto — popularly referred to as Baba Ijebu.
Also, four clubs — including FC Taraba, Real Stars FC, Jossy FC and Akajiobi FC, which failed to meet the registration guidelines for the aborted 2019-20 NNL season — have been readmitted to the league with a warning that they must fulfill all necessary conditions before registration and participation in the 2020-21 season.
Full Draw / Matchday One Fixtures
El-Kanemi Warriors (BYE)E
FCC FC vs FC Taraba
Nigeria Airforce FC vs Mighty Jets
Oyah Sports FC vs Green Berets FC
Rarara FC vs Gombe United
Sokoto United vs Aklosendi FC
Niger Tornadoes vs Real Stars FC
Road Safety FC vs ABS FC
DMD FC vs Kogi United
Malumfashi FC vs Zamfara United
Kebbi United vs Yobe Desert Stars
Go Round FC vs Akajiobi FC
Stores FC vs Giant Brillars FC
Shooting Stars SC vs Rovers FC
Dynamite FC vs Ekiti United
Delta Force vs Vandrezzer FC
Nilayo FC vs Nnewi United
Bendel Insurance (BYE)
Joy Cometh FC vs Gateway United
Crown FC vs Jossy FC
Julius Atete FC vs Abia Comets
Apex Keane vs Bayelsa United
Remo Stars vs Goddosky FC
Ibom Youths FC vs FC One Rocket